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Author Topic: Cost of Living's Affect on Production  (Read 6113 times)

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« on: June 06, 2015, 10:12 »
0
A Russian stock photo agent told me recently that a Russian photographer could live and support a family very comfortably on 50,000 roubles a month. At todays currency exchange that works out to about $886 per month or $10,632 per year.

An equivalent in the U.S. would be about $30,932. In both cases these figures are basically net profit after business expenses are paid so a stock shooter would need gross royalties of maybe twice as much as either of these figures for a comfortable standard of living.

The questions are: (1) Do these figures seem accurate? (2) Are figures for other Eastern European and former Soviet nations about the same or higher/lower? (3) What would be the average for your country?

This information is important because more and more of the best selling stock images are being produced by photographers from countries with a low cost of living. Photographers in Western Europe and the U.S have difficulty competing because the revenue needed to cover costs and show a profit is so much higher.

This is not to say that photographers in low standard of living countries should not be producing, or that some type of restrictions should be placed on them. But photographers in the West who hope to one day support themselves from their stock photography earnings should make a realistic assessment of their chances to compete.

What do you think?


« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 10:22 »
+19
What do you think?

I think keeping one's day job is a smart move.

Me


« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 11:41 »
+17
Is this another of those topics where you post on here to collect information then collate it into an article and try to sell it back to us?
Sorry for the cynicism but we learn from experience

« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 12:16 »
-6
Contributors in the developed countries are okay to make almost nothing from their photos because they keep their other job, this is a hobby for so many of them so they don't think they deserve to be paid a fair amount.

« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 13:53 »
+7
I can only comment at my going rate of $150 an hour, due to my cost of living.

« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 14:26 »
0
I can only comment at my going rate of $150 an hour, due to my cost of living.

LOL. Send out an invoice.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 22:17 »
+2
Wait... that's my day rate, what am I doing wrong. Oh right, no studio, just me, equipment, and God's lighting, outdoors.  :) (and no I haven't quit my other day jobs)

I can only comment at my going rate of $150 an hour, due to my cost of living.

« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 22:28 »
+2
Yes, its easier for photogs in lower cost of living countries, but the agencies better not rely on them for everything as they keep rate cutting. Sure, cliches like girl on white with headset, busuness team, handshake, etc. Can be done anywhere. 

But majority of buyers are still in the west, and for location stuff, they will want accuracy.  Things like hospitals and equipment, police, fire trucks, ambulance, achitecture styles, roads, construction gear, etc, are region specific and can't be faked on the cheap in Eastern Europe.  The agencies better wake up and keep this industry viable for westerners or they gonna be f%*ked ITLR.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 22:31 by PixelBytes »

« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2015, 00:26 »
0
Quote
(1) Do these figures seem accurate?
(2) Are figures for other Eastern European and former Soviet nations about the same or higher/lower?
(3) What would be the average for your country?

Yes, these figures seem about right, but the actual rates vary from country to country.
Prague is nowadays not much cheaper than Berlin, but the further east you do, the cheaper the life gets. And also the female models get prettier and vodka gets more available as you travel eastwards. Or maybe they look prettier because of the vodka.

In Canada, the standard of living is about the same as in USA. Taxes are higher, health care is cheaper. The only thing is that we don't get paid for blood donations (however, that could be circumvented if the blood donor is also a fashion model, and enterprising stock photographer could be fooled into parting with his money by believing he discovered a niche).
Gas is less expensive in USA, but Florida oranges and Cuban cigars can be found cheaper here. Alcohol costs more here, but that could be compensated by a cheaper highly potent BC-grown marijuana. Photo gear used to be cheaper south of the border, but due to the drop of Canadian currency, and depending on a particular item, it could be now more advantageous to buy it here.

However, if you are a landscape photographer, nothing beats the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass in USA - Lifetime Pass for $10. Seniors from all other countries would go to war for such a deal.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 01:34 by LesPalenik »

« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2015, 01:21 »
+2
minimum wage in Australia is about $33,500 AUD (about $27000 USD).
%25 loading for casual workers. (i.e. no paid sick leave, no holiday pay etc.)
cost of living is higher than in USA.
You'd be struggling to support a family on one minimum wage workers wage.






ShadySue

« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2015, 03:44 »
0
However, if you are a landscape photographer, nothing beats the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass in USA - Lifetime Pass for $10. Seniors from all other countries would go to war for such a deal.
Our National Parks are free for everyone, though admittedly nothing like as varied.

« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2015, 04:10 »
+12
Newbies from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, UK, Scandinavia can just forget about ever making a decent income in micro.

« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 05:42 »
0
However, if you are a landscape photographer, nothing beats the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass in USA - Lifetime Pass for $10. Seniors from all other countries would go to war for such a deal.
Our National Parks are free for everyone, though admittedly nothing like as varied.

That's even better.
In Canada, the annual pass for adults to all National parks costs $67.70 and $57.90 for seniors.
The provincial parks are not included in those fees, and they sell their own annual passes in each province anywhere between $20 (Newfoundland) and $175 (Ontario) - and that's just for day visits, not camping. And for all this money, they don't even stock the prairies with giraffes and lakes with crocodiles anymore. Regardless, for the government it seems much more profitable and easier business than taxing the oil companies.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 05:45 by LesPalenik »

« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2015, 07:13 »
+3
Possible to support a family decently on $30K in the US??? 

« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2015, 07:46 »
0
Possible to support a family decently on $30K in the US???


Once the $15/hour minimum wage becomes common in every state across the USA the lowest full time job will pay $31,200/yr.  Right now I don't shoot full time nor do I make $31,200 a year in micro stock.  And I typically put in nearly 40 hours a week on top of my day job, keywording, shooting, editing, etc.  $31k would be excellent supplemental income, but would not help to make a comfortable living with a $15 an hour salary if I dumped my day job. The only way, in my opinion, to go full time is to find new extensions to market your work and venture into other visual arts (illustration, video...even audio).
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 11:41 by Mantis »

« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2015, 09:47 »
+2
Possible to support a family decently on $30K in the US???

Self-employment tax is going to eat into that pretty good too.

« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2015, 10:24 »
0
However, if you are a landscape photographer, nothing beats the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass in USA - Lifetime Pass for $10. Seniors from all other countries would go to war for such a deal.

I agree with that, Les, and in fact I make verrrry good use of the lifetime Senior Pass I bought for $10.

However the time and gas it takes to get to those widespread national parks and other public lands, and the price of staying in those areas (with their often-$$$ accommodations), undercuts the cost benefits. My artist husband and I own a motor home, so we can eat, sleep, and hang out quite reasonably in places like that. But even for us, there's a cost to get there.


« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2015, 10:52 »
0
Too many calculations. Come on guys, do some more shots instead of losing your time of comparing eastern and western standards. There are so many examples of successful western stock photographers(having higher costs) and unsuccessful eastern stock photographers even when they are in one "cheap" area.

« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2015, 11:42 »
0
Too many calculations. Come on guys, do some more shots instead of losing your time of comparing eastern and western standards. There are so many examples of successful western stock photographers(having higher costs) and unsuccessful eastern stock photographers even when they are in one "cheap" area.

Then why are you wasting your time posting? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2015, 11:47 »
+1
Too many calculations. Come on guys, do some more shots instead of losing your time of comparing eastern and western standards. There are so many examples of successful western stock photographers(having higher costs) and unsuccessful eastern stock photographers even when they are in one "cheap" area.

Then why are you wasting your time posting? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

To share my vision on this topic.

« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2015, 12:41 »
+1
Too many calculations. Come on guys, do some more shots instead of losing your time of comparing eastern and western standards. There are so many examples of successful western stock photographers(having higher costs) and unsuccessful eastern stock photographers even when they are in one "cheap" area.

Then why are you wasting your time posting? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

To share my vision on this topic.

Your vision is to tell everyone else to stop analyzing and start shooting? Yet you are spending your time posting that message instead of spending your time shooting to the very vision you are violating yourself?  You're funny.

« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2015, 13:22 »
0
Too many calculations. Come on guys, do some more shots instead of losing your time of comparing eastern and western standards. There are so many examples of successful western stock photographers(having higher costs) and unsuccessful eastern stock photographers even when they are in one "cheap" area.

Then why are you wasting your time posting? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

To share my vision on this topic.

Your vision is to tell everyone else to stop analyzing and start shooting? Yet you are spending your time posting that message instead of spending your time shooting to the very vision you are violating yourself?  You're funny.

Please do not explain me my vision :)
Analyze what to shot and what sells, but i don't agree to analyze how the standard of life in my country affect my success in the stock photography.
Sorry, but I don't like to argue with anybody.

Tror

« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2015, 15:00 »
+14
It is getting more difficult anywhere. It has a bit to do with production cost, but more(?) with Talent. There are some amazing photographers based in Spain, Berlin, Rome, the US as well as Tallinn and Kiev. But everybody is feeling the squeeze.

Microstock is bleeding out at the moment. Shutterstocks strategy is disgusting - squeezing contributors for the sake of shareholders value. Raising prices and passing nothing through to the creators of content. Last week I spoke to a photographer who made a good living from microstock a few years ago. Now he had to cancel his health insurance. And yes, he is based in a developing country. Very sad.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 15:08 by Tror »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2015, 16:19 »
+7
There's a time for chatting and a time for shooting. I  don't get these comments about stop complaining shoot more. I  can't shoot 24/7. Stop telling people how they should plan their time without actually knowing what they do. There a bunch of people on the SS forum doing that as well. It's  ironic.

ultimagina

« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2015, 16:19 »
+1
... but the further east you do, the cheaper the life gets.

This is a simplistic view. You should have said the "harder the life gets"

In those countries there is virtually no middle class. You have very few rich people and almost everybody else is poor.
This is why most of the top technology (including good photo equipment) can only be afforded by the tiny fraction of very rich people with absolutely no money problems.
Good technology cannot be afforded by the masses, so the prices are kept up for only those who can afford it. You will be surprised to see that good TVs, good cameras, good cars, etc are more expensive in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe (and definitely more expensive than in US).
So purchasing the gear required for decent quality photography requires huge sacrifices from a regular photographer. You should factor this in when you make your statements.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 16:23 by ultimagaina »


 

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